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Free Minds & Free Markets

Stop Calling the GOP the Party of Small Government

There was a time when GOP lawmakers called for the elimination of entire federal agencies. Today, milquetoast promises to pursue smaller government are followed by votes for ever bigger government.

As Milton Friedman noted, the true size of the state is measured by how much money it spends. Budget data show that all modern presidents, regardless of party affiliation, have increased the federal fiscal footprint—but Republican administrations have generally increased the amount spent at a faster rate than Democratic ones.

Under George W. Bush, who was elected on a platform of fiscal restraint, total federal spending increased in real terms by 53 percent. Enabled and encouraged by a Republican-led Congress, his administration adopted the politically self-serving notion that "deficits don't matter." No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and bank bailouts serve as a vivid reminder that shrinking the state doesn't stand a chance.

Even the record of Ronald Reagan, that eloquent spokesman for limited government, was disappointing. Whatever progress he made in limiting the growth of domestic programs was offset by enormous hikes in the Pentagon's budget that helped set the stage for the last 30 years of costly American military adventurism. Overall annual spending jumped 22 percent in real terms during Reagan's first term. By comparison, it grew by just 12.5 percent under Bill Clinton and 0.3 percent under Barack Obama (when giving his predecessor full credit for fiscal year 2009, as we do for all departing presidents in this exercise).

The voting record of congressional Republicans while Obama was in office is additional evidence that politics—not principles—guide the GOP. In 2011, Republicans used the fight over increasing the debt ceiling to curtail Obama's spending desires, but ever since they have joined Democrats in breaching spending caps. They attacked the rise in food stamp usage but helped keep what are essentially welfare checks flowing to wealthy farmers and landowners. They complained about the green subsidies that the Obama administration gave to now-defunct Solyndra but refused to terminate the underlying program (which, by the way, began during the Bush years). And they decried cronyism in government, unless it served friendly special interests like defense contractors and sugar moguls.

Yes, Republicans deserve credit for getting in the way of the Democrats' wildest spending schemes. But whatever motivation they had to limit expenditure growth while a Democrat sat in the Oval Office vanished once a Republican took over.

We obviously don't have a full picture yet of spending during Donald Trump's tenure. But with Washington unified under GOP rule since January 2017, congressional Republicans have been blowing money at levels congressional Democrats could only dream of. They quickly lifted the spending caps associated with sequestration—the only even modestly effective expenditure limit still in place—to grow the already bloated Pentagon budget even more. Indeed, the purported party of limited government shamelessly increased discretionary spending by $300 billion over two years.

Led by a president who doesn't appear to understand basic economics and who insists that the long-term drivers of America's unsustainable national debt—Social Security and Medicare—can't be touched, the mainstream GOP has proven that the grumbling about big government under Obama was mere political posturing. After years of swearing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, unified Republican power has instead come with a noticeable new taste for Medicaid expansion and support for other provisions of the law.

Republican apologists always seem to have an excuse for federal expansions on their watch. They argued, for instance, that Bush's prescription drug subsidy for seniors was noble as well as politically savvy. But it's getting government out of the equation that would actually make health care more affordable. Instead, Republicans delivered the biggest enlargement of the welfare state since the creation of Medicare in 1965.

The conservative defense of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is another example. That credit is a wealth redistribution program that Republicans and conservatives praise as encouraging people to work—if you ignore the disincentive to increase one's hourly labor created by the means cap. When pressed on the issues with the program, including the 25 percent of annual payments that are improper, conservatives are fast to note that it's better than the high minimum wage sought by liberals. But two wrongs don't make a right, and a hike in the federal minimum wage won't happen if Republicans don't capitulate.

The latest instance of conservatives opening the door to more government involvement in our lives under the excuse that the left wants something even worse is a push to allow parents to prematurely tap their Social Security benefits to use for family leave. The idea, which was conjured up by the conservative Independent Women's Forum, is being sold to Republicans as deficit-friendly, because whatever money is doled out now could be offset decades down the road by deferring retirement by a few weeks.

Even if it's true that the proposal would be less harmful than alternatives championed by Democrats, we need to be realistic: Once the door is opened to providing Social Security benefits upfront for a particular reason, policy makers and special interests will start finding other reasons for doing so as well—many others. As with the child tax credit pushed by conservatives in the 1990s, the price tag will eventually grow, and the federal debt along with it. Nonetheless, the proposal has been praised by Sens. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) and Mike Lee (R–Utah), who can always be counted on to dump overboard their limited government beliefs in exchange for "pro-family" policies.

Republicans did cut taxes under Bush and again under Trump. Not all tax reform is created equal, however. Last year's package cut the top corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent, which on its own will assist economic growth. But the deal also contained expensive personal income tax cuts for people who were already paying relatively little. Rubio and Lee can be thanked for the inclusion of economically counterproductive measures such as an expansion of the child tax credit. Worse, the legislation had zero regard for the need to reduce government expenditures to make up for revenue losses. Shortsighted lawmakers once again ignored the mathematical reality: A failure to match tax cuts with spending cuts increases the chances that we'll eventually need to introduce a Value Added Tax to deal with our staggering public debt.

Believing that Republicans will make good on pledges to reduce the size and scope of government makes us Charlie Brown to politicians' football-holding Lucy. But at least Republicans oppose barriers to trade, right?

Wait, what was that?

Photo Credit: vadimrysev/iStock

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  • ClassicLiberal||

    When are people going to realize that the Republicans and the Democrats are no different. They argue for our benefit. They both treat politics as if it is a soap opera, looking to all as if they are pitted against each other, all the while working together to ever expand the power of government.

  • Don't look at me.||

    A wise man once said, (and I hope I got this right), Left- Right=0

  • Flinch||

    The Cocktail Party [aka: Uniparty] flies two flags, and keeps two offices: fundraising is so much easier that way, because politics is the realm of the agitated. We have a few dozen acual reps [good or bad] in the self described 'freedom caucus', but they don't run the show. Progs own DC, which is why spending remains on autopilot and agencies still are out of control.

  • Hank Phillips||

    One of the talking blondes on Faux News yesterday claimed to be "a libertarian at heart." The Republican's suggestion was not to deregulate the medical profession or eliminate drug prohibition, but rather, to defund Planned Parenthood on the assertion that unsubsidized pregnancy termination "under the same roof" as other care was some sort of affront to mystical moralism. This is the result of antichoice infiltrators duping the platform committee into adding the abortion straddle plank which contradicts the self-ownership language in the platform introduction. The Canadian LP has won the choice battle and shortened up its platform accordingly.

  • Hank Phillips||

    One of the talking blondes on Faux News yesterday claimed to be "a libertarian at heart." The Republican's suggestion was not to deregulate the medical profession or eliminate drug prohibition, but rather, to defund Planned Parenthood on the assertion that unsubsidized pregnancy termination "under the same roof" as other care was some sort of affront to mystical moralism. This is the result of antichoice infiltrators duping the platform committee into adding the abortion straddle plank which contradicts the self-ownership language in the platform introduction. The Canadian LP has won the choice battle and shortened up its platform accordingly.

  • Hank Phillips||

    One of the talking blondes on Faux News yesterday claimed to be "a libertarian at heart." The Republican's suggestion was not to deregulate the medical profession or eliminate drug prohibition, but rather, to defund Planned Parenthood on the assertion that unsubsidized pregnancy termination "under the same roof" as other care was some sort of affront to mystical moralism. This is the result of antichoice infiltrators duping the platform committee into adding the abortion straddle plank which contradicts the self-ownership language in the platform introduction. The Canadian LP has won the choice battle and shortened up its platform accordingly.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Hank why do you want to murder babies so much? And don't try that 'mystical' crap with me. I'm agnostic. From a scientific standpoint, abortion past a relatively early point is just plain murder. Do you even understand biological science Hank?

    If so, please enlighten me.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Readers will note that if Faecescadaver here were libertarian it would have read the LP plank of 1972 and the Roe v. Wade decision.

  • Vernon Depner||

    They both treat politics as if it is a soap opera...

    No, not soap opera. Professional wrestling.

  • Jay Dubya||

    nice to see nonpartis in the comments here. seems like its been a while.

  • Jay Dubya||

    *nonpartisans

  • Jay Dubya||

    that glow disappeared as soon as i saw the thread immediately following this one, tho.

  • Jerryskids||

    Not a problem, most of us have been calling them the Stupid Party for years.

  • DJF||

    I have long ago stopped thinking of the GOP as the party of small government.

    Just like I have long ago stopped thinking of Reason as the magazine of small government due to its constant support of the Chinese Communists by pretending they have anything to do with free trade or small government.

  • Cy||

    Kind of like Reason's massive hard on for illegal immigrants? Huge drains on welfare programs and damn near every last one of them future democratic voters!

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    One of the few "Reasons" I support Trump, even though he is goofy. He tapped into the messages that ordinary people wanted to hear.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The ordinary people who call educated, accomplished, skilled, smart, progressive people the "elite?"

    One of America's freedoms is the right to admire pandering to the insular and lesser.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    The American freedom to call themselves Royal?

  • Finrod||

    Fuck off, idiot slaver.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "The ordinary people who call educated, accomplished, skilled, smart, progressive people the "elite?""

    By your definition, I am the elite. This means, according t your philosophy, that you will bow to me as your better and do as you are bidden.

    Arty, I am your lord and master. Just as you wish it.

  • Eric||

    That makes you a populist who thinks he's a libertarian. smh

  • Tony||

    By ordinary people you mean racist toothless freaks who never learned that with ignorance should come humility, and that constant irrational childish fear of other people means you're weak, not strong.

  • Finrod||

    Good self-description, idiot.

  • Agammamon||

    C'mon Tony, don't be so hard on your family. I'm sure they all have teeth.

  • JoeBlow123||

    *sigh* these people you dislike are your countrymen for better or worse.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Maybe we should help them, but there is no reason to pretend they are admirable.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Arty, all you need ever do is learn to obey, It's the only thing for a dull little mind like yours.

  • Flinch||

    We can fix at least half that problem by demanding congress do one thing: pass a law forcing states to indicate citizenship status on drivers licenses. That's it: cut the nuts off moter-voter, and people registering non citizens to vote become a proveable part of the crime of illegal voting. Registrars have been afforded a relative immunity for far too long and it's time to look past the individuals casting illegal ballots to the people that helped make it happen.
    So, we don't need a national ID card. And anyway, I don't want to carry an extra document around and I don't see any need to pay some brand new bureaucracy to administer what will become known as... the Department of Redundancy Department.

  • Davy C||

    We can fix at least half that problem by demanding congress do one thing: pass a law forcing states to indicate citizenship status on drivers licenses

    Such a law would be struck down. The federal government does not have the authority to tell states they must put things on their licenses. The best the federal government could do is make it so noncompliant licenses aren't eligible to be used as federal ID, but they'd better be able to show a rational basis for the requirement beyond interfering in state-run elections.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Drivers' licenses should be abolished. Why should you need permission from the state to drive on a road you're being forced to pay for?

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    This.

  • Jay Dubya||

    agreed. how the fk did reason readers go from the "abolish id" to "institute federal id to instigate govt kidnapping campaigns of guest workers"?
    its particularly galling for this nonsense to come from "the right" here in the US, when it was reagan who instituted the last amnesty for guest workers. it was the openly racist arguments for mass incarceration of immigrants from the pro-union left that finally broke my support for democrats in college & led me to libertarianism in the first place.
    i wont be surprised, and i will be just as disgusted, when in a few more years the demographics shift again & the two parties shift core policies to reelect the dear leaders of the moment. weve always been at war with eurasia/eastasia ... a situation that will never change when the electorate is so easily convinced the source of all of their problems is their fkng landscaper.

  • Eric||

    This is part of the GOP's problem. So called fiscal conservatives who jump to the dog whistle of welfare spending but completely ignore everything else. It's what makes them the worthless hypocrites that they are.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Hmmm. Well, let's tally it up:

    We have the Freedom caucus on the R side, which IS a group devoted to small government. There is no such group on the D side.

    All pushback on government spending has been done by...Rs. The Ds objection to spending bills is that they don't spend ENOUGH.

    The Ds have plans and dreams of far larger government than any R, among the ideas being universal health care, free college tuition for all, and eventually perhaps slavery reparations.

    So, yeah, perhaps the Rs aren't uniformly the party of small government, but it seems clear they are the party of SMALLER government versus Ds.

    I'd say getting in the way of D's wildest spending schemes isn't nothing, and indeed thats a pretty solid accomplishment. Its certainly enough to get my vote. Once these big programs are implemented, it becomes all but political suicide to try to remove them.

  • Flinch||

    I won't give R's credit at this present time in history. They are the party of big government. The D's on the other hand, are the party of positively gigantic government, just slightly shy of full blown communism - they still want the banksters around to throw money at their party and re-election campaigns at the end of the day.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Boiled down, it appears we generally agree.

    Given the above, how does this affect your voting ? I choose the smaller of the two shit sandwiches.

  • Eric||

    And you eat a shit sandwhich just like the rest of us. Congrats!

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Republicans and conservatives slobber over military spending, micromanagement of abortion clinics, the drug war, government surveillance, torture, government gay-bashing, pre-emptive invasion (of the wrong country), prayer in schools, government secrecy, bigoted and restrictive immigration policies, compulsory and prescribed salute during the national anthem, and race-targeting voter suppression.

    People like iheartskeet don't seem to mind . . . because they are "libertarian."

    Or because the Republicans deliver bigotry.

    Carry on, clingers. More homeschooling, maybe?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Clingers, like sharksuckers, is an apropos shorthand for infiltrators in libertarian drag who fasten onto Republican jowls like remoras and selectively push such rights-destroying priorities and distortions of non-aggression as suits their predatory hosts.

  • Eric||

    I was hoping that the resident Republicans would go away now that their team is on charge. I've been wrong.

  • flyfishnevada||

    I'm sure we can cherry pick a few GOP members who honestly support smaller government but on the whole, actions speak louder than words. It seems you're claiming the GOP is better because the GOP says they're better. Their actions to date say otherwise. The passed a spending bill that will make the deficit go all twelve digits on us, they passed a tax reform bill that will increase the deficit and debt even more and they failed to keep the promise to repeal Obamacare. The closest they got was a bill that was just as bad, if not worse, and they couldn't muster the courage to do even that. I've seen no departments shuttered, no drastic reduction spending and despite all the supposed regulatory gains spending went up. The GOP = Dems, tribalistic urges not withstanding...

  • Iheartskeet||

    Its quite a bit more than a few...somewhere between 40% and 50% based on voting. Indeed, this split seems to have contributed to their inconsistency. What Ds are there that have any remote commitment to fiscal control ?

    As I noted, its enough for me that they block the democrat's worst impulses...and those impulses are orders of magnitude worse than anything the GOP has done or will do. I don't see the tax cuts as bad per se. They likely won't pay for themselves in a strict sense, but I think they've significantly helped the economy, and in the end the difference is trivial in comparison to what we'll see in 2030 onward with SS/Medicare/Medicaid. All three programs I might add, that were put in place by Ds.

    One other way to look at is states, even major cities. D-run state after D-run state are on their way to bankruptcy, and I don't see any that are taking meaningful steps to fix it. As Reason noted the other day, California looks like it will go right over the cliff. There are exceptions, but most R-run states look like they are doing ok from a fiscal management standpoint.

    I sure wish Rs would do more, a lot more, but that doesn't mean R=D.

  • Happy Chandler||

    California has a budget surplus. Oklahoma cut schools to four days a week. Kansas had its rating cut to almost junk before turning out the Brownback coalition. Minnesota job growth has outpaced Wisconsin for years.

  • Iheartskeet||

    You've heard of google, right ? Google state fiscal health and look at the Mercatus rankings. I said "most" not "every", and it's not job growth, but state government finances.

    Plus, I want to make sure I understand you: are you claiming California is in good fiscal shape ?

    I am not sure if you are being deliberately misleading or are just a dimwit. It's one of those though.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Since 2011, after suffering through the Schwarzenegger years, the S&P rating went from A- to AA-, the steps up. Over that tone, Kansas went from AA+ to AA-, and teachers are marching in the streets.
    Who is going in the right direction and who is going in the wrong one?

  • Happy Chandler||

    Which democratic run state is going bankrupt?

  • Nardz||

    Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey off the top of my head

  • Happy Chandler||

    Illinois and New Jersey(until this year) had Republican governors. So... One example.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Those three are perfect examples. All have had D controlled legislatures for ~15 years or more. We can look at New Mexico and see that even with a R governor like Gary Johnson, the D legislature will just override vetoes and quadruple state debt.

    It's clear you don't want to really acknowledge reality, but rather cherry pick a few factoids and ignore the rest of the evidence pile. My guess is you are simply a troll like OBL. A worse one, because he is at least entertaining.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Illinois and new Jersey also have massively far left democrat legislatures. Who are the ones to blame for all the misery.

  • ohlookMarketthugs||

    This guy is what happens when Reason caters to uneducated, violent people.

  • Finrod||

    Obama already ran the deficit into thirteen figures.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "As Milton Friedman noted, the true size of the state is measured by how much money it spends."

    The turning point came when so many, who are supposed to be fiscal conservatives, opposed the biggest cut to entitlement spending in history.

    Rand Paul and other fake fiscal conservatives in the Republican party voted against a bill that cut $1.022 trillion in entitlement spending--particularly on Medicaid.

    https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52849

    Why should marginal fiscal conservatives in the GOP stick their necks out to cut entitlements when phony fiscal conservatives from Rand Paul to certain Reason staff (looking at you Suderman) made fools out of them for doing so?

    Note, it isn't just that the establishment GOP actually voted to cut entitlements by $1.022 trillion in the senate when Rand Paul and company voted against it; it's also that the House actually passed a bill that was more radical in its cuts of Medicaid spending than the one Rand Paul and other phony fiscal conservatives in the senate voted against.

    If you want to look for someone to blame in the GOP for betraying fiscal conservatism, don't blame the establishment--they actually voted to cut entitlement spending. The blame belongs to phony fiscal conservatives like Rand Paul, who made the establishment GOP sorry for voting to cut entitlements by $1.022 trillion by pulling the rug out from under them after they'd committed themselves to a vote that cut spending.

  • Flinch||

    CBO scoring is almost always wrong, both in numbers and real impact. Little things like claiming a tax break received by me is a "cost" to the government are myopic and laughable. I haven't made up my mind on the act you refer to, but... more reading to do. Thanks for the link.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You might argue with their assumptions, but the suggestion that the bill didn't cut Medicaid spending dramatically is preposterous.

  • Iheartskeet||

    IIRC Paul and a few other Fredom Caucus members were against it because it didn't go far enough. So, you can say they were dumbasses for rejecting the good for the perfect, that they were naive ideologues, and other choice words, but being phony on cutting spending doesn't look like an accurate critique.

    But maybe I don't RC, and they actually objected to cutting spending. What was their reasoning ?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "IIRC Paul and a few other Fredom Caucus members were against it because it didn't go far enough."

    What's the difference?

    They'd rather not cut $1.022 trillion in entitlement spending if it doesn't also . . . ?

    P.S. Kentucky has one of the highest Medicaid participation rates in the country, and Appalachia is suffering from a huge opioid epidemic. That's a much better explanation for why Paul voted against cutting $1.022 trillion in spending ($772 billion of it directly from Medicaid) that the suggestion that he was being principled on anything.

    Milton Friedman said that the true size of the state is measured by how much money it spends. I say that the true measure of a politician's commitment to fiscal conservatism is measured by whether they vote to cut $1.022 trillion in spending on entitlement programs. Everything else is horseshit.

  • Iheartskeet||

    I'd say it makes a pretty big difference being able to tell tactical mistakes and general dumbassery apart from ideological commitments, certainly in the long run.

  • Ken Shultz||

    A vote to cut $1.022 trillion in entitlement spending is both an ideological issue and a practical issue.

    The same senators who voted against those cuts, supposedly, because they didn't go deep enough voted for Trump's tax reform package--that's what made the tax reform bill possible.

    If Rand Paul and his foolish followers in the senate had voted for those cuts, we wouldn't be talking about this as an ideological exercise. Those cuts failed because Rand Paul and company voted against them.

  • Iheartskeet||

    There you have it: "Foolish".

    I'd say thats fair.

    Thats not the same as a fraud or a phony.

    Best I can tell, they overplayed their hand, and like ReasonMag itself often does, got on a high horse about near-unachievable principles instead of accepting modest progress. Its also a guarantee that if it had passed, many here would be bashing THAT, and telling us how much Rs suck for not doing a complete repeal.

  • Eric Bana||

    Rand Paul and other fake fiscal conservatives in the Republican party voted against a bill that cut $1.022 trillion in entitlement spending--particularly on Medicaid.

    Why didn't they vote for it again?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Why would the GOP establishment bring it up for a vote again? So that Rand Paul and company can make them look like asses again for voting to throw poor mothers and children out of the hospital into the street? If they can't depend on ostensibly fiscal conservative senators like Rand Paul to vote to cut Medicaid by hundreds of billions, then why go to the trouble of embarrassing themselves?

    That was the end of fiscal conservatism in this version of the GOP.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Why would the GOP establishment bring it up for a vote again? So that Rand Paul and company can make them look like asses again for voting to throw poor mothers and children out of the hospital into the street? If they can't depend on ostensibly fiscal conservative senators like Rand Paul to vote to cut Medicaid by hundreds of billions, then why go to the trouble of embarrassing themselves?

    That was the end of fiscal conservatism in this version of the GOP.

  • ohlookMarketthugs||

    racist, Glib Ken still getting his jollies off kids not going to the doctor, or are you scared they would get pills cause Obama!

  • Longtobefree||

    How is this 'news' in any definition of the term?
    This shocking development just in; the sun may rise in the east tomorrow!

    I left the Republican party when the national legislature passed a bill they knew was unconstitutional to inject the federal government into ONE legal marriage.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Really?
    I left when they abandoned the last remnants of the gold standard and imposed wage and price controls.

  • 2VNews||

    Republicans: We are for smaller government,.
    Reality: Some other time, when it will not cost me my reelection.

  • turco||

    Public choice theory. It's true.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Most RINOs are big spenders but to be fair, Republicans cannot pass any budget or budget cut without 60 votes in the Senate which means some Democrats voting too.

    Democrats won't vote for anything that has major cuts.

    Republicans have to decide to shutdown government which the media blasts as bad, ending 60 vote majority in Senate via a rule change, or spend more money than we have but not as much as Democrats.

  • ohlookMarketthugs||

    This guy thinks the commies were on the Mayflower.

  • Finrod||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Open wider -- the liberal-libertarian mainstream has even more progress and decency to shove down your whimpering right-wing throat.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Arty, you are not the mainstream. America is a center right country. You progressive filth merely bitch and whine loudly. Soon you will be dealt with. Ao best you learn to obey your conservative and libertarian betters.

  • Wizard with a Woodchipper||

    "Stop Calling the GOP the Party of Small Government"

    seriously, who's been calling the GOP by this name?

  • Hank Phillips||

    My question is: how many of these school shootings have occurred uncoerced by truancy laws and "gun-free" zones? Perhaps "truancy law massacres" is a more truthful descriptor of where one form of anti-choice coercion cascades into another.

  • Hank Phillips||

    My question is: how many of these school shootings have occurred uncoerced by truancy laws and "gun-free" zones? Perhaps "truancy law massacres" is a more truthful descriptor of where one form of anti-choice coercion cascades into another.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    Given this obvious desire on the part of the two legacy parties to spend like drunken sailors, it's incumbent upon the Libertarian Party to promote candidates for office who are, ya know, actual *libertarians*. unfortunately here in Arizona, we have a candidate for governor who wants to tax marijuana to give more money to "public" schools... and the party infrastructure supports him! I guess Gary Johnson should have been the tip-off about where the party was heading, but it's depressing when the Libertarian Party supports candidates who are an echo, not a choice.

  • Shirley Knott||

    "Libertarian Party" is a lot like "Chastity Orgy"
    Public choice theory is true — it's easy not to be a sell-out right up until somebody offers a price.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Case in point:

    https://www.wired.com/story/ (rest of link below)
    congress-latest-move-to-extend- (rest of link below)
    copyright-protection-is-misguided/

    "Conservative" Republicans are right in there with beltway Democrat senators trying to push this POS through.

  • Happy Chandler||

    So, tax credits to corporations with a negative rate already is good libertarianism. Tax credits to the working class to offset payroll taxes is bad. It seems like it's not a taxing or spending issue, it's a support corporations over workers that is important. I wonder why reason could think this is important?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You have a lot of distorte, idiotic ideas, don't you?

  • Davy C||

    You can't just look at an "R" or "D" by someone's name and expect that label to tell you how fiscally responsible someone is. You have to do the hard work of actually looking at the records of individual politicians, instead of trying to use a lazy shortcut.

  • Shirley Knott||

    No thief is fiscally responsible.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Actually, the labels work quite well. If there's an R or a D by their name, you know they're not fiscally responsible. The exceptions are so rare they're easy to find.

  • Hank Phillips||

    A signed confession of conspiracy to loot is a signed confession, whether R or D. Seven years before their income tax amendment took effect there were signs up in San Francisco offering to shoot looters on sight.

  • James Pollock||

    Here's the thing, though... this is not a recent development.
    When Democrats are running things, Republicans talk a lot about limiting government. When they run things, they promptly forget all that "principle" and spend on things they want to spend on, which usually turns out to be things that benefit Republican donors and interests.

  • Robert||

    But if you look at the states, the GOP is still definitely the party of smaller gov't.

  • Tony||

    And what marvelous results they have to show for it.

    Looks like they are consistently anti-evidence at all levels.

  • Finrod||

    You're a fucking moron, Tony.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Tony, drink your Drano. Evil trash like you shouldn't live.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "As Milton Friedman noted, the true size of the state is measured by how much money it spends. "

    Pretty dumb for Uncle Milty.

    The true size of the state is measured by how much of our freedom it spends. The money it spends, and taxes it collects for it, is a small portion of that freedom spent.

  • wreckinball||

    Well we could have saved a whole lot of Boeing reading by changing the totals to "smaller"
    I mean holy crap the Ds are getting slightly scary with their plans. The brown shirt stuff being the scariest
    Everything is relative

  • wreckinball||

    Boring that is
    Can't edit

  • Hank Phillips||

    What Vero is seeing is a positive effect of Libertarian spoiler votes. God's Own Prohibitionists organized, passed Comstock laws, infiltrated the other parties and pushed prohibition and the income tax. Only in 1932 did a Liberal Party write a repeal plank and free America of their grip by legalizing beer, and eventually condoms and such. The Republican party, overrun by mystical parasites, seeks to imitate another another party and the LP is the only one growing. So they talk about everything libertarian-sounding except reversing the Comstock laws, the communist income tax, and the medical meddling that accompanied the Harrison Act and other prohibition laws. This they do to preserve these hideous monstrosities by political mimesis and trickery. If we do not fall for it, they will have to repeal those monstrosities or get fired.

  • tlapp||

    The only difference between the major parties is which part of government they wish to grow.

  • TxJack 112||

    Also stop calling it conservative. The establishment GOP are Democrats with different spending priorities such as the military vs social program.

  • taraomar||

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  • jerbigge||

    In the case of the Medicare Drug Benefit (Medicare Part D) the Republicans passed their own bill instead of allowing the Democrats to pass their own plan. Simple politics: Act before your "competition" does.

    Outside of this, a lot of Republican passed laws reflected their own beliefs as to what should be "legal" and what should not be "legal" based upon the beliefs of their major supporter groups, the Christian Right, the wealthy, the big corporations, and groups like the NRA. Then the defense contractors are another group that desires more "war" because "war" is where the billions of dollars get spent "doing on to others".

  • James Pollock||

    " the Republicans passed their own bill instead of allowing the Democrats to pass their own plan."

    Interesting theory. At the time, the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. The Democrats controlled... nothing. So the likelihood that Democrats were going to be passing their own plan seems... remote.

  • markm23||

    To begin with, the party of small government would never have supported the war on some drugs.

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